Mentoring Apiary

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Mentoring Apiary Program

The best way to learn successful beekeeping skills is through hands-on mentoring from experienced beekeepers.  Without beekeeping mentorship, new beekeepers often experience avoidable challenges resulting in colony death. The University of Minnesota Bee Squad’s Mentoring Apiary Program provides invaluable learning opportunities for beekeepers of all experience levels.

Gloveless beekeeping: One of the core tenets of the Bee Squad’s beekeeping philosophy is to enter colonies without wearing gloves.  This allows the beekeeper to have the dexterity and sensory feedback to handle frames and bee boxes in a way that minimizes harm and disruption to the bees.  For the safety of all students and instructors, we require that all participants do not wear gloves in our teaching apiaries.  We believe that the ability to manage a hive of honey bees calmly and confidently under a wide range of conditions is one of the most important skills gained from our program.  Please feel free to contact us with questions prior to registration or attending class!

Due to COVID-19, all Mentoring Apiary classes are currently being held online.  We are following University of Minnesota guidelines and will resume in-person classes in our teaching apiaries when possible.

For class updates, please sign up for the Mentoring Apiary bulletin by emailing, or follow the UMN Bee Squad Mentoring Apiary on Facebook.

Mentoring Apiary Online classes 2021

Whether you are a new beekeeper starting out with your first package, or an experienced beekeeper planning to expand your apiary, each year of beekeeping holds new challenges. Stay up to date with recommendations on seasonal management with expert beekeepers from the University of MN Bee Squad. We use videos, photos, and data taken from hundreds of Bee Squad hives to provide timely recommendations for beekeeping techniques and management.

Each class will be a live Zoom meeting, with time for questions and in-depth discussion. Participants are welcome to share details from their own hives.

Class options:

  • Buzz Pass A La Carte: Purchase individual classes for $20 per hour long class
  • The "New Beekeeper" Special:  A package of classes for the new beekeeper, to get you from new packages in the spring to prepping hives for winter. $120 (8 classes for the price of 6!)
    • April 1 (Hiving New Packages), April 29 (Checking a New Package), May 20 (Hive Inspection), June 3 (Managing Growing Colonies), July 1 (Summer Management), August 5 (Fall Mite Management), September 2 (Fall Feeding), October 7 (Prepping for Winter).

  • The "Year Two and Beyond" Special:  A package of classes for beekeepers with overwintered colonies, covering spring divides through wintering. $120 (8 classes for the price of 6!)
    • March 18 (Colony Autopsy), April 15 (Reversals), May 6 (Divides), June 3 (Managing Growing Colonies), July 1 (Summer Management), August 5 (Fall Mite Management), September 2 (Fall Feeding), October 7 (Prepping for Winter).

Please visit our registration page to sign up for classes:


Online Mentoring Apiary Buzz Pass schedule

Zoom classes held from 7:00-8:00pm on Thursdays


February 25, 7:00-8:00pm

-Planning Your Beekeeping Year: Get ready for the upcoming season by preparing equipment, choosing an apiary site, and looking ahead to key seasonal milestones.


March 18, 7:00-8:00pm

-Colony Autopsy: Examine hives that died over the winter to determine cause of death and evaluate used equipment.


April 1, 7:00-8:00pm

-Hiving Packages: One of the most exciting days of the year! Tips for hiving a new package smoothly and successfully.


April 15, 7:00-8:00pm

-Reversals and Planning for Mite Management in Overwintered Hives: Evaluate hives that survived the winter and prepare them for spring divides by doing reversals and testing for mites.


April 29, 7:00-8:00pm

-Checking New Packages: Look for signs that a new package has a healthy laying queen and get them off to a good start.


May 6, 7:00-8:00pm

-Dividing overwintered hives: Hives that survived winter need to be split for honey production, colony health, and swarm prevention.  How to make the divide, introduce a new queen, and take care of multiple thriving colonies.


May 20, 7:00-8:00pm

-Hive Inspection: Learn to identify all the components of a healthy hive.  Look for pollen, nectar, brood of all ages, new comb production, signs of a healthy queen, and colony growth.


June 3, 7:00-8:00pm

-Managing Growing Colonies: June in Minnesota is a time of fast growth for many honey bee hives. Prevent swarms, catch the nectar flow, and set your hive up for a great season by doing reversals, adding space, and checking for mites.


July 1, 7:00-8:00pm

-Summer management: Hives are getting big! Learn to identify brood diseases, troubleshoot issues with your queen, and get tips for working with heavy boxes full of bees and honey.


August 5, 7:00-8:00pm

-Fall mite management and honey pulling: Tips for getting your supers off and your mite levels under control.


September 2, 7:00-8:00pm

-Fall feeding and management: To prepare for successful overwintering, ensure that hives have enough food for winter and low mite and disease levels.


October 7, 7:00-8:00pm

-Prepping hives for winter: Give your hives their best chance of winter survival with proper winter wrapping and a final oxalic acid mite treatment.


November 4, 7:00-8:00pm

-Understanding Fall Collapse: If your hives looked healthy and large in the early fall, but collapsed with the onset of cold temperatures, look inside the hive for clues and develop a strategy for future management.


Beekeeper Hands-on training